I can’t believe its synthetic!
While ASICS is mostly known for their mainline X Fly numbered series, a few years ago they came out with the X Fly Pro. The X Fly Pro has a more aggressive soleplate and an internal heel counter as well as a kangaroo leather foot. While well received, there has been the issue that the leather is somewhat stiff out of the box and some complaints that the midfoot is too stiff. For this blog, the X Fly Pro reviewed well but it is possible to see where people’s complaints were coming from. So, ASICS decided to launch a limited edition synthetic model to solve some of these problems. But they made the limited edition synthetic. Normally, this is a step backwards in terms of overall softness and plushness, but ASICS have created one of the softest and one of the best synthetic leather boots I have come across. Ever.
Taking the ASICS DS Light X Fly Pro Limited out of the box for the first time is surprising. The upper is very soft and plush and there are even grain lines on the synthetic upper and for all intents and purposes, it seems in every way like a premium kangaroo leather upper. It cannot be overstated how premium the boots feel in hand. This is the same for the boots when they are put on the feet for the first time. The boots wrap the feet in comfort and again, feel like a top level kangaroo leather boot. It almost seems like magic was involved to pull this off.
The advantage of using a synthetic upper means that there is no possibility of the upper overstretching. Along with that the boot still feels supportive through the midfoot and when running there is plenty of comfort and support available. The boot still has the same excellent fit found in the regular X Fly Pro but with remarkably less break in time than its kangaroo leather brother. It only took about a one hour session for the upper to feel ready to go for a match. In fact, the very next session the boots were used in was a match and is something that does not often happen when I review boots. Normally, it is the third session when the boots are used for match scenarios. So, it is easy to say how impressive the boots are when it comes to breaking in.
Another part of the boot that mimics the original is the excellent heel fit that offers an impressive amount of comfort. There is plenty of cushioning without making the heel lose its stability or the fit around the foot. The optional lace that can be used for the runner’s knot is also on the X Fly Pro Limited, which is always a welcome addition as it helps with the heel lockdown.
Speaking of the lockdown, it is brilliant and nice and firm without feeling constricting. The deep lacing system means that even towards the front of the foot the lockdown can be adjusted which means that the boot can also fit multiple foot shape types. Something that may not be mentioned as much is how nice the laces are. Given that some Japanese brands still seem to use a basic cotton lace, ASICS’ Powerhold laces are a nice change. They are included in other high-end ASICS models and are nice enough that I have used them on other non-ASICS boots I have worn.
The boot makes a mockery of other synthetic upper materials found in other brands. This is not ASICS’ first crack at a synthetic leather upper, and the MicroSK (or MicroSKIN as it was sometimes in the past) has been around for a while, but it has been refined in a way that makes it ASICS’ best synthetic leather upper they have produced. And all of this has been done on a speed boot that seems to be made for everyone.
For sizing, I went with my usual ASICS size, which is a half size down from my normal size and the fit is perfect. It is highly recommended that you order a half size down, even if you have wider feet as the upper is soft enough and adjustable enough to fit all sorts of different foot shapes.
A synthetic leather upper that seems to perfectly mimic kangaroo leather is well and good but if the touch is not there, then it is not worth it. ASICS have nailed it however, with the upper feeling like a kangaroo leather upper that is on the thinner side with it comes to plushness. The touch on the ball is excellent and would not feel out of place among kangaroo leather boots. There is a slight plushness to the forefoot, but it is still thin enough to give a sharp and natural, almost barefoot feeling when controlling the ball.
The upper does feel ever so slightly grippier than a normal kangaroo leather boot but this works to the boots advantage as it means there is just a slight bit of extra grip available in adverse conditions. Speaking of which, the upper is stain and water resistant, which means that it is less likely to stain and pick up water. Because of this, the boot cleans easily and also the feet do not get soaked when playing in the wet.
While dribbling, the boot also excels, giving a nice, thin touch without compromising on the overall comfort of the boot. Again, like the regular X Fly Pro, it does not do anything wild like other speed boots might, but this also means that there is nothing to get in the way when dribbling. Also, a quick word about the fact that studs are textured on the bottom of the boot, which makes it easier to control and manipulate the ball with the bottom of the foot.
Shooting and Crossing
This is another area in which the ASICS DS Light X Fly Pro Limited excels. The thinner upper allows for the foot to be much closer to the ball when hitting it. Given that the boot now has the same material across the upper means that there is a more consistent feeling than other boots that have a kangaroo leather forefoot and synthetic midfoot. This is not a knock against the other boots, but it does mean that there is a similar feel across the boot no matter where you hit the ball.
The soleplate does a great job of keep the foot anchored to the ground when hitting the ball which means that hitting the ball with power is a confident experience, with no weird warping of the boot or soleplate, even when hitting the ball in awkward positions. And for some reason, maybe because of the fit of the boot, curling the ball comes more naturally in the X Fly Pro Limited. At least in comparison with some other models that have been reviewed.
The soleplate is the same as what is found on the regular X Fly Pro. That being said, we should look at what the blog has written before:
“But the surprising thing is that I don’t remember seeing AI and algorithm-based tech being used in their running shoes as much but this seems like a well taken risk. There is no big heel lift in the rear of the boot as is found on other ASICS boots. Instead, there is a visual slope that can be seen where the soleplate meets the upper on the profile view of the boot. Because of this the boots feel more natural to run in than other boots, which just have a straight line from the heel to the toe box on the part where the soleplate and upper meet. Sure, sometimes you’ll find an upward curve like is found on other boots, but nothing as well thought out as what is seen on the X Fly Pro. This means that the actual profile of the boots is made in to work in conjunction with the soleplate itself, which I would argue helps improve grip since it takes into account the body mechanics when running.
There is also a ton of stability on the soleplate because of the design. This stability means that the soleplate provides terrific support in spite of the fact of how thin it is. There is not as much springback as you might find on other speed boots, but it is still there and noticeable.
A key component for grip is the studs of course. And the shape and design of the “Accelerator Stud System” on the X Fly Pro are fantastic and are probably my favourite thing about the boot. No matter the surface, no matter the conditions, the studs gave tons of grip without preventing me from pivoting or making sharp cuts.”
I still agree with this previous assessment, and it is still one of my favourite things about the X Fly Pro models.
When ASICS initially showed off the X Fly Pro and X Fly 5 Limited models, I was not sure that ASICS really needed synthetic leather upper models in their lineup. Having now played in the X Fly Pro Limited, I can wholly see why they would make this move as the synthetic upper is absolutely brilliant. If fact, I would go so far as to argue that for the X Fly Pro, ASICS should drop the kangaroo leather model and just make the X Fly Pro in this excellent synthetic upper, and I never thought I would argue for a synthetic upper over a kangaroo leather one. However, the upper that ASICS have used on the X Fly Pro Limited has to go down as well of the best synthetic leathers I have come across and I am enjoying the boot so much that they are going into my rotation.
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